Toyota’s luxury brand, Lexus is finally coming to India, and will make its entry with three models. Official launch date for the Lexus range in India is likely to be March 24, 2017. Bookings for the cars have commenced, but deliveries will start only thereafter. The first Lexus dealership will be set up in Mumbai and will be operational before the official launch early next year.
The first 'Lexus Boutique' will most likely be at the Taj Santacruz Hotel, located right next to Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (Domestic Terminal). The first models to be launched will be the RX450h and LX450d SUVs and the ES300h sedan. Initially, all three models will be fully imported from Japan via the CBU route. The carmaker is currently gearing up for local assembly in India, but that will commence later.
The Lexus line-up in India will come with all options that are available in the Japanese-spec models. However, the first batch of India-spec cars will miss out on the navigation system as India maps are difficult to configure on imports.
Lexus RX450h SUV
The Lexus RX-series is a popular Lexus model globally. Currently in its fourth generation, this SUV will come to India in the RX450h guise. The Lexus RX450h will be powered by a 3.5-litre, V6 petrol motor coupled to Toyota’s Hybrid system, similar to the one in the Prius, mated to an e-CVT gearbox. The combined output will be 308hp. In international markets, the SUV rivals the likes of the Audi Q5 and the BMW X3. Sources tell us that this SUV will be priced above its rivals since it will be sold as a fully imported unit. India-spec models will get 18-inch alloy wheels, instead of the 20-incher available internationally, which according to sources, will help improve the ride quality when driving on our roads.
Lexus ES300h sedan
The ES300h is based on the Camry sedan. It will be Lexus’ entry-ticket model in India. Like its RX cousin, it will also come to India in a hybrid guise. The sedan is aimed at drivers and chauffeur-driven owners looking for a relaxed and comfortable commute, and not for those seeking a sporty driving experience. It shares most of its underpinnings with the Camry hybrid, including its 2.5-litre petrol engine and the electric motor assist mated to the same CVT gearbox. Sources tell us that this is likely to be one of the first models to go in for local assembly in India, thanks to its shared platform with the Camry that is locally assembled here. This also means that the locally built ES300h will see a dip in pricing thanks to the FAME scheme.
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Issue: 211 | Autocar India: March 2017
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